Giovanni Trapattoni has gone with the tried and the trusted for Ireland’s opening game at Euro 2012 – and vowed to try and win against Croatia.
The notoriously cautious Italian knows a victory in Poznan would be a God send ahead of the group games against Spain and Italy at the Euros.
As ever, the Ireland boss has been loyal to his key players with the team completely along expected lines.
Shay Given starts in front of a back four of John O’Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger and Stephen Ward.
Midfield against Croatia will consist of Damien Duff, Glenn Whelan, Keith Andrews and Aiden McGeady.
Robbie Keane will captain the team as the anchorman of Ireland’s attack with regular partner Kevin Doyle by his side.
Trapattoni said: “I have already chosen the team and fortunately, there were no injuries after the last training.
“I can say we are ready for this first match, and that this first match will be very, very tough.
“Robbie Keane has already said that the team feels like performing well and we will do everything in our power to get a good result.”
Trapattoni also told the pre-match press conference that he is confident of victory but admits that football can be an unpredictable sport.
Trap added: “The most important thing is what you feel. We all expect victory, of course, but the question is whether you can avoid mistakes.
That is a huge concern because in each match, you want to avoid mistakes.
“This is something unpredictable and something unpredictable can happen in each match.
“You can prepare for a match in the best way you can, but I always watch matches and I prepare very well, and then there are unpredictable situations.
“In each circumstance, the Irish nation is confident about this team. They fully believe in us.
“We are really confident, but we have to be aware of that unpredictability.”
Croatia will be formidable opponents in Poznan and Trapattoni knows well that a good start to the tournament is vital for his team.
He said: “The first match is critical and there are some reasons why it is so critical.
“Sometimes, the preparations are not the best. There are some nations who have played until the end of May, so most of them have to recuperate some injuries.
“The second aspect is enthusiasm and the creativity of the team. Of course, if you win the first match, you get momentum and enthusiasm and in this way, you can avoid maybe criticism and you are still confident and maybe you can reach your goal.”
Republic of Ireland v Croatia: Given, O’Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward, Duff, Andrews, Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Doyle.
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